Kate's Cuisine

May 08 2017

Rigatoni in a Vodka Sauce

Rigatoni in a creamy vodka sauce and garnished with basil

There’s not a lot that can compete with my love of pasta. I love it in all shapes and forms, and I love trying out new sauces to go with them. The one I tried most recently was pasta in a vodka sauce and OMG, guys. It’s incredible. It only takes a few minutes to whip up (I did it during intermission while the playoffs were on) and it brings in all these new flavours that you may or may not have tried in pasta sauce before.

Of course, it all starts with tomatoes. I chose crushed because I wanted it to be saucy and not just tomato-y, but there are lots of recipes out there that call for whole tomatoes to be crushed slightly with your hands. So you can definitely take it that way if you’d like. Then, in addition with the vodka (that’s not too much,) a bit of cream also goes in to share the spotlight and take a bit of that acid away from the tomatoes.

It’s delightful and just like when you cook with wine, it’s perfectly suitable for kids. The alcohol in the vodka boils off so there’s no need to worry, even if Brent couldn’t help but call it the “get your kids to sleep hack.”


  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta $3.99
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes $1.29
  • 1 tablespoon butter $0.13
  • 1 small onion, minced $0.47
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.01
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes $0.05
  • 1/2 cup vodka $2.39
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream $0.51
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese $1.49
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped $0.75

Total cost $11.08
Cost per serving $2.77


1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. When boiling, add the rigatoni and cook until just before the pasta reaches the al dente stage. I used durum semolina pasta, which takes a bit longer to cook, about 10 minutes. When done cooking, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain.

2.) While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, just until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.

3.) Remove the pan from the heat and add the vodka, tomatoes, and salt to taste. Return the pan to the heat and cook for another 7 minutes to boil the alcohol off. Stir in the heavy cream and cook for another 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the Parmesan and basil.

4.) Add the cooked pasta to the pan, along with the reserved cooking water. Toss and taste, adding more salt if necessary. Garnish with more Parmesan and basil, if desired.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

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